HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


my fried rice came out wrong! what happened??

  • y

i made a ton of fried rice...but it came out all clumpy and sticky...not nice and loose like i get when i order chinese take-out. what did i do wrong?

tips for next time?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm not sure anyone can tell what happened if they don't know how you cooked the rice in the first place. care to post your recipe? type of rice used? etc.

    1. You haven't really described your cooking process but I'll make a guess at some things in any event......did you cook your rice so that the grains are whole and not overly wet to begin with and then did you spread out the rice to dry and cool before making your fried rice. You can do this overnight or for several hours - until the rice is separating and not sticky....... this is a critical step.
      Also have the wok very hot before you start cooking the fried rice - going for some of that wok "breath".

      1. Did you use leftover rice that had completely dried out? Make extra rice the next time you're having it and spread it out on a sheet pan until it's nice and dry. Or do this with leftovers from Chinese or Thai takeout. Fried rice is a great leftovers dish--throw in whatever's in your fridge.

        Link: http://haverchuk.blogspot.com

        1 Reply
        1. re: mzn

          THANKS! i definitely DID NOT dry out my rice. i cooked it the same night. i'll have to remember that for next time. also...does using a wok really make a difference...b/c i didn't have one available. yikes! no wonder it came out terrible.

          does anyone have some good recipes to share?

          thanks to everyone for all the tips!

        2. Hints:
          1. Cook rice in chicken broth with a bit of oil added (or use homemade broth with chicken fat).
          2. Keep refrigerated overnight.
          3. Be sure the cold rice is not lumpy.
          4. Do not use much oil or fat to cook the fried rice (chicken or beef fat is a good addtion).
          5. Have wok very hot when rice is added.
          6. Don't overstir when stuff is added. In fact, the best fried rice has a bit of a burnt taste.
          7. Do not overseason with soy...a very small amount of thick soy sauce is best.
          8. I always add a dash of Thai fish sauce before serving, instead of salt.

          1. Everyone's got it right.

            Cold rice from the fridge that is a day old is key.

            One thing, you might want to break up the rice while it's cold rather than doing it in the wok.

            Also, I think a wok is a good thing to have because nothing messes up your cooking range than a whole bunch of stray rice jumping out of your saute pan. A properly seasoned and heated wok will also give that elusive flavor us afficiandos call "Wok-hay".

            Link: http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

            1. Yeap, day old rice. You can't make good fried rice with fresh rice. Fried rice came about as a mean to use up left over rice.

              Also, oil is important. You don't have to drown your rice in it, but you can't skim on it either. Also, I would suggest cooking/thraw all the other ingredients in advance before adding to the rice. I know some people would add frozen peas/vegetables directly to the rice. However, the water in frozen vegetables can make the rice soggy.

              Give it another try. Fried rice is not difficult to maek. But making good fried rice does take a little practice.

              1. I am not a recipe cooker, so I apologize if the quantities are a bit off... trying to guess

                You use day old rice as everyone said. You break it up with a fork or fingers before you put in the wok or pan. Use Texas long grain 101 rice .... not the Japanese or other medium short grain rices, .... they are 'sticky' to begin with. You don't really need a wok .... you need a big pan though... I have a 14 inch 'frying pan that I use if I am cooking on the stove .... the real answer is you gotta get the pan REAL hot...
                quick recipe:
                1/2 cup (or more if you are a meat eater) of cubed char siu, or ham or cooked chicken, or shrimp .... depending upon what kind of meat you like.
                1 green onion sliced in thin circles
                1 egg scrambled
                light soy sauce
                pot of cold day old long grain rice
                cooking oil (your favorite type)

                Put 3 or so tablespoons of oil in pan/wok
                fry egg in one round piece until golden brown on both sides, take out of wok and slice in to bite size rectangles (looks nicer)
                add another tablepoon or so of oil and toss meat in ....stir around until heated through (shouldn't take long, since all the meat is already cooked)
                toss rice in smashing any big pieces that are left with your spatula or wok chan if that is what you are using... heat this through
                add in 2 or 3 tablespoons of soy sauce ... more if you have more rice ... but this should flavor and color the rice and meat, but not make it soggy .... if you have a lot of rice .... then more soy sauce ..
                finally toss in the egg and green onions and give it a few more tosses .... voila ... quicker than you can say egg foo young ... you have a great fried rice.

                you can also add some canned mushrooms if you want (warm those up with the meat)

                1. Pretty much what everyone has said are true. I'd like to add a few tricks I've picked up over the years of making leftover rice.

                  1. I take cold leftover rice and rinse them in a colander with cold water, breaking up all clumps so that I get grains of rice. I know some people would say that that makes the rice soggy...but I've found that really dried rice makes for a hard texture. I find that rinsing the rice also removes some of the starch from the grain and I can get the oil around each grain better. Let this rinsed rise dry out a bit an you're ready to cook. Also, in this way, I don't have to worry about the rice being in clumps.

                  2. You can scramble your eggs ahead of time and just break up the cooked eggs as needed. For that special treatment, which my kids love, I separate the eggs and cook the whites with a pinch of salt. Break the scrambled egg whites as needed. When you cook the rice in the hot oil, throw in the egg yolks and stir fry them together. The richness of the yolks coats the rice grains and gives it a really good flavor.

                  3. I don't put soy sauce in my fry rice...kinda a purist so I add salt and seseme oil to taste. For the people who want the soy sauce, they add that at the table. You'll find that many of the Cantonese Chinese restaurants also serve their fried rice without soysauce.

                  4. I've found that green onions/scallions are a must for fried rice and it's not the same without it. Other than that, you can pretty much add whatever you feel like. Like other posters mentioned, it is best to precook all you ingredients and add them to the cooked rice at the end and toss. Also, if you throw in a couple of smashed cloves of garlic in the hot oil before the rice, you get more fried flavor.

                  5. Finally, I don't think a wok is necessary. You can't really skimp on the oil too much since that hot oil gives the rice that fried rice taste. I use a large nonstick skillet so that I wouldn't have to deal with burnt rice on the bottome of an inadequately seasoned pan.

                  Enjoy. Margret

                  1. I posted tips for making fried rice a while back based on a study done in Japan.

                    Your rice should sit in the fridge overnight. Break it up before adding it to the frypan.

                    The key with getting good fried rice is to scramble an egg in a bowl, add it to the pan, let it just start to set (just barely) and add the rice that you have broken up. You want to cover each grain of rice with some of the egg.

                    From here you add your meat and vegies.

                    The Japanese t.v. program that explained this process was so scientific. They had taken grains of rice and put them under the microscope. While most chefs will scramble the egg first, and then chop it up and add it later to the rice, you don`t cover each grain and that is when it starts to clump.

                    Once you can get this recipe under your belt, you will find yourself craving fried rice weekly.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Yukari

                      Yes, the cooked rice must be chilled overnight. This is a critical step.

                    2. Fried rice is not as easy as it would seem. I never go as far as drying my rice out on a pan, but do put it in the fridge overnight.

                      I like my fried rice on the dry side. My favorite way of making fried rice: In a wok, saute some cubes of Chinese sausage w/ a little oil til slightly charred and some fat has rendered. The sausage is already cooked, so you're just looking to get a smoky flavor and release some fat. Remove. Then add more oil if needed and toss in some chopped scallions and saute til soft and just beginning to brown. Toss in declumped rice and saute. Add a pinch of salt and a little pepper. Once oil coats rice evenly and rice begins to dry out, add little soy sauce and stir til distributed and rice begins to dry out. Throw in frozen peas and corn and mix. Once veggies have warmed through, make a well in the center and crack in an egg. Scramble in center and let set for a few sec. Then stir through rice to evenly coat. Toss sausage back in and taste for seasoning. I usually add a squirt of fish sauce and a touch more salt if needed. My husband likes to mix in chile sauce w/ black beans at the table.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Carb Lover

                        THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR ALL THE TIPS! you guys are great. i can't wait to try it again.

                        do you all have a preference for the type of rice or oil? i was using sesame...and regular white rice.

                        thanks again!

                        1. re: yuck

                          I prefer sesame oil but also use vegetable oil. Not sure, but I believe sesame oil has a lower smoke point so you can`t get the pan as hot as you could with vegetable oil.

                          For a twist, throw in some butter and garlic chips at the very end.

                          1. re: Yukari

                            Seasame oil is used for flavoring not really for cooking ... that's why it comes in the smaller bottles ... you add a few dashes when you are finished cooking .... if you don't care about cholesterol and arteries, and you really want flavor, at the end you add a teaspoon (?) of lard or bacon drippings .... yeah I know it's a heart attack waiting to happen ... but lip smacking good.

                            1. re: Wayne

                              Hawaiians render chopped bacon, and use a little of the bacon grease to fry the rice. I wonder if Hawaiians have cholesterol problems? Hmmm? What about bits of Kalua pig? Yumm.

                              1. re: Jim H.

                                I oftentimes use bacon when I don't have any Chinese sausage. Mmmm...bacon, scallions, scrambled egg.

                                1. re: Carb Lover

                                  ah yes, bacon drippings. My mom who is Japanese used that in America. Unfortunately, living in Japan now, the bacon does not give off drippings. Yes - go with the drippings!

                          2. re: yuck

                            I prefer peanut oil for flavor and a high smoking point. I use Thai jasmine rice, because that's what I grew up eating. But you could try with long grain, or a mix of basmati and jasmine - less likely to be mushy.

                            1. re: yuck

                              I use canola oil and don't add any sesame oil. I use whatever rice I have leftover...jasmine, sushi, basmati. Basmati is driest so may need some additional liquid like water or chicken broth at the start of frying.

                          3. The recipes and ideas posted in reply all sound good to me.

                            Some sources say to season fried rice with only salt and pepper, not soy sauce. But the greatest fried rice I've ever had is made with lots of kecap manis, the Indonesian sweet soy sauce that's also a great marinade for grilled chicken or beef. To me the only essential ingredients in fried rice are are rice, onions (preferably green, but I've made it with every kind) and salt. Everything else is a matter of what's in your fridge and pantry.

                            1. All good advice, here, but I'm going to add something. I'm guessing that you may have tried to make too large a batch ("i made a ton of fried rice...") If you throw too much stuff into your wok/pan, it'll cool too much and things can tend to clump.

                              I don't refrigerate my rice, but I make sure it's good and dry..day-old is good, two days old is even better. As for choice of oil...peanut oil to start, and sesame oil for flavor (near the end).